LIVE: Bel Air Commissioners Election Forum
Patch is providing live updates from Wednesday night's forum.
7:45 p.m.: Closing statements
7:45 p.m.: Burdette believes she can bring a unique perspective to the board. She said a friend asked her, what does a commissioner do and why are you doing it? "Commissioners are responsible for healthy, safety and welfare of members of town and I feel like my knowledge and experience from 35 years in public service as well as time all make me a good person for the job." She said she "truly has a passion for our small town."
7:46 p.m.: Hanley says it's been a great pleasure to serve as commissioner and looks forward to serving another four years.
7:47 p.m.: Adolph says thanks for putting this together. His interest is self motivated and that he is here for his wife and kids. He wants to impose on the town what he's been able to do in other roles and wants to provide new leadership. His experiences in private sector employment will bring a unique perspective to the job.
7:48 p.m.: Reier would be honored and privileged to continue serving the town. He says he lives and works in the community and is in the community every day and keeps his hand on the pulse of the town and addresses concerns promptly.
7:49 p.m.: Hopkins has served four years on the town board and has learned a lot. "I hope I have been a good example to my three boys. It should be every citizens' right to participate in these meetings. I have been a firefighter, law enforcement officer and involved in emergency management."
7:35 p.m.: Adolph asks his fellow candidates if they support the town's purchase of a 19,700 square-foot building at 33–37 S. Main St. The vacant property was last occupied by BB&T.
Reier says, "I've been steadfast in my opposition to the purchase of the old BB&T building."
He continues: "I question possibly having another municipal building we have to tend to and take care of. I think my opposition has been well stated.
Hanley says, "It was the lesser of two evils. We might as well have a presence on Main Street."
Burdette says, "I support the purchase of the building because it's an absolute prime spot in town. I don't think it's worth to give up that spot on Main Street. I think using it for parking spots right now would be good for the businesses there.
The town is growing, the town government is growing ... I feel there will be a time to come when we need that building there."
Hopkins says, "I supported it. Main Street is the focus of Bel Air. It's the hub. At some point in time we need to look at the expansion of the police department. purchasing that lot gives us options."
7:28 p.m.: There are only three open seats, assuming you vote for yourself what two other candidates would you support?
7:28 p.m.: Adolph feels it's a bit difficult to answer at this point. He knows incumbents well and will refrain from endorsing.
7:29 p.m.: Reier says all the candidates have fantastic qualities. "What a question, Brad."
7:30 p.m.: Hanley says he's been on the board for eight years and town's budget has jumped significantly and he is very fiscally conservative. He looks forward to the board returning as it is. He was the only candidate to state that he supports the two other incumbents.
7:31 p.m.: Burdette says her husband feels she likes to think of others but encourages her to simply vote for herself.
Hopkins says he respects the question and the other candidates but he will refrain from answering.
Hanley reiterated his support of his fellow incumbents: "If it's not broke don't fix it."
7:25 p.m.: Would you promote connecting East and West MacPhail Roads?
7:25 p.m.: Burdette says she needs to know more about the issue before answering.
7:26 p.m.: Hopkins was initially in favor. Would be a diversion road to relieve 924 into Bel Air. That road runs between two major schools. Presents a challenge to parents.
7:26 p.m.: Adolph wouldn't support a cut-through of the road with the campus in its current state. But the world is redeveloping. Schools renovate, may be the time to re-evaluate it.
7:27 p.m.: Reier would not support it at this time because of the schools. We represent the citizens' concerns.
HANLEY: It probably is the right thing to do. I don't think it's going to happen. It splits two school campuses. I wouldn't support it now.
7:20 p.m.: Candidate question from Hanley: Commissioner Hanley pledges not to raise taxes and asks whether his fellow candidates will also make that pledge.
7:21 p.m.: Burdette says based on the state of the economy, she would not vote to raise taxes.
Hopkins says a reduction in highway user fees has taken $500,000 away from the town and he would continue to work to recover those user fees.
Adolph says he would pledge to review the tax rates to try to keep money in people's pockets.
7:24 p.m.: Reier says he has not nor would he ever support a tax increase.
7:15 p.m.: How do you feel the town police department and Chief Leo Matrangola are doing?
7:15 p.m.: Hanley says Bel Air is an extremely safe community.
Burdette says downtown at night don't badger but ensure those who had too much to drink.
Hopkins biased background not as bad as gang crimes could have. Low threshold of drug and crime.
7:18 p.m. Adolph says he sat here two years ago and heralded the positive aspects of the police department. Adolph added he has heard a desire that officers be out in the community more and the chief may not have vetted employees properly.
Reier says Bel Air police have done an excellent job.
7:12 p.m. Candidate question from Reier: What measures would you take to improve walkability in Bel Air?
7:12 p.m.: Hanley says something he's done in past eight years is to address sidewalks. Ma and Pa trail and other sidewalk programs are ongoing.
7:13 p.m.: Burdette says she has seen Bel Air has been on top of this issue.
Hopkins agrees with Hanley that commissioners continue with sidewalk projects and connecting the Ma and Pa trails.
Adolph says he agrees with Hanley and Hopkins. He added Homestead Village is disconnected from walking standpoint and knows plans are in place but thinks emphasis should go to struggling intersections.
7:11 p.m.: Adolph says he is in agreement with intent to divert traffic in a more consistent way.
7:10 p.m.: Hopkins says town paid for a study several years ago and have become part of county's plan. We continue to ask state to keep this on the priority list. Solution may be several years away.
7:09 p.m.: Burdette says county town and state working on traffic problem here in Bel Air. One thing that may help is training public to use bypasses.
7:08 p.m.: Reier says an overpass or underpass may be necessary, continue with due dilligence
Hanley says we did add a turn lane, ultimately it's a difficult problem to deal with. We need to find a different way to divert cut through traffic here in Bel Air
7:06 p.m.: The first question is regarding traffic, volume increases at the intersection of Route 1 and 24 and elsewhere in town what would you do to address that problem?
7:04 p.m.: And we're off! A brief introduction from moderator Brad Gerick is underway with the first question to start momentarily.
6:56 p.m.: The candidates are seated left to right in the following order after random drawing: incumbent Robert Reier, incumbent Terence Hanley, Susan Burdette, incumbent Edward Hopkins and Greg Adolph.
6:53 p.m.: All five candidates are here and we will be getting started shortly after 7 p.m.